Some of my fondest childhood memories center around Thanksgiving, when aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins would descend on our western Pennsylvania home for a grand feast. The night before, I would stay up late with my mother, prepping onions and celery for the dressing and baking the pumpkin pies. The next morning, the house would be filled with the smells of roast stuffed turkey, glazed ham, tender roast beef, and corn pudding.
All that changed when I moved to New York City to become a model at 19. On my first holiday away from home, some new actor friends invited me to Thanksgiving dinner. I was so excited to discover my friends' family traditions. Imagine my dismay, then, when I learned they would be serving…spaghetti ?!
Nothing against spaghetti, but somehow it just wasn't the same. I left early and called my mom, homesick for the sights and smells of my childhood. And I resolved never again to go without turkey. The next year I cooked my kind of Thanksgiving dinner in my tiny New York apartment for all my friends.
Today, sharing my family's traditions — through my restaurants and cookbooks — is the best way I know to honor the spirit of the season.
Sweet Bourbon Corn Pudding
2 large eggs
3/4 cup evaporated milk
2 cups canned cream-style corn
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons bourbon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter an 8-inch-square baking dish.
2. Whisk together the eggs and the milk. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
3. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Bake 45 to 48 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm.
Nutrients per serving: 168 calories, 6g protein, 25g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 5g fat, 61mg cholesterol, 132mg sodium